Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Good Day

...is turning on the radio in my car at lunch, and hearing a familiar voice singing "something 'bout the way the hair falls in your face...I love the shape you take when crawling towards the pillowcase..." just when I am in severe need of a JM fix, even if it is Wonderland.

...is a very bubbly and cheerful cashier at Target.

...is knowing I will have enough money to make it until the next payday.

...is the look of pleasant shock on the face of the front end supervisor at Target, when I sought her out to compliment the aforementioned cashier.

...is hearing my sister and mother joking with each other over the phone, picturing their facial expressions and knowing exactly what they will say, just as they say it.

...turning the car on after leaving Target and hearing the same familiar voice, singing "do I have to fall asleep with roses in my hand? and would you get them if I did?"

...my baby girl staying in her own bed, all night long.

...brilliant autumn leaves lining a red-brick campus.

Capturing moments in my head, for bleaker days ahead.

Finals are in six weeks.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Movie Review: Dan In Real Life

My friends and I were stuck in the front row- the movie sold out and I'm sure it's #1 at the box office. This, however, was not enough to spoil this cinematic outing- my first since August - we saw the Simpsons Movie and the I-35 bridge collapsed. Both of my friends and I agreed that this movie was great-enough meat to move, enough laughs to provide comedic respite for three 1Ls in desperate need of anything but law school. I'm usually fairly jaded about romantic comedies, but this ain't your mother's romantic comedy. I'm used to the standard plot: beautiful girl, handsome boy, comedic plot, screwball and foibles, a touch of drama, happy ending.

Dan in Real Life is so much more than that.

Steve Carell is no longer the 40-Year Old Virgin. He's got amazing depth in his role as Dan, an advice columnist who happens to be a widower with three daughters, ages 17, 14 and 10. Carell gave Dan sensitivity, a sense of humor, talent, hurt, and wit. Dan is a complex character at best, a regular guy who is hurt in a very intense way. Done wrong, Dan could be portrayed as a simpleton. Carell does Dan right.

I won't give away the plot- but there is some great tension, as boy-meets-girl-who-is-dating-boy #2. The phenomenal thing here is that the whole thing is more than just the story. The movie resonated with me- the whole cast gave moving and honest performances- Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney as Dan's parents are particularly charming.

The real gift in this movie is that it is tremendously funny. The actors have gorgeous chemistry, and just as the hurt is ever-present, it's never heavy handed. There are no cheap laughs, no practical jokes. One of the most touching moments in the movie comes on Family Talent Night- where Steve Carell and Dane Cook play the guitar and sing George Harrison's "Let My Love Open The Door" to Juliette Binoche. Yes, it is a preview moment, but it isn't fully revealed, and that's a good thing. You have to see the movie to understand why, but that's the point.

Go see the movie.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Me and some 1L buds are headed to the talkies tonight! Woo, child-and-husband-free Saturday night! (The boy and the girl are in the hometown for the boy's annual Halloween game. It's a 15 year tradition. I can hardly begrudge him a weekend, especially if he takes the girl with him.)

On the agenda: Dan in Real Life. Review to follow shortly.

It's been ages since I got to go to the picture show- I wonder if they still have a piano player at the front?

In the ears: Try!

On the laptop: Stupid memo!

House: Status quo.

On the TV: Nothing, son! I'm out!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Break Out The Winter Clothes

Fall has arrived in Minnesota!

I stepped outside this morning to take the girl to school, and instantly felt the chill of late fall. I immediately turned us around, went back into the house and bundled the girl up in a scarf, hat and mittens, and zipped-in the zip-out liner in her coat. She looked at her getup (pink jacket, pink and purple accessories with red hearts) and said the following:

"Mommy! I'm very pink today!"

"Yes, you sure are. But very cute."

Maintaining radio silence for the near future...the next six weeks of school should be hectic and insane, at best.

In the ears: Continuum

On the laptop: Closed Memo for LRW I. Rough draft due tomorrow.

House: Disastrous.

On the TV: nothing for the next few weeks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ten Things You Should Know About Me, Part I

1. I very rarely stay up past 11pm. When I do, it's because I'm either studying or something's on my mind. Nights like last night happen every so often- I'm up until after 2am, but have no problem waking up on time and rarely feel fatigued due to lack of sleep.

2. Few pieces of music move me more than Debussy's Clair de Lune.

3. I always sing along to the radio in the car. I know the words to so many songs, it's freaky. A song can come on that I haven't heard in 5-10-however many years, and I will be able to recall it almost perfectly.

4. I used to sing, and I want to re-train my voice, even if it is only to sing in a community choir.

5. I don't know what it feels like to be anything other than overweight.

6. I am conscientious about turning a light off as I exit a room.

7. I love to cook and bake. There is nothing like the look on someone's face when I bring an unexpected banana bread. What they don't know is how therapeutic baking is for me, and how a simple thank you and smile makes the effort worthwhile.

8. I always paint my toes purple when I get a pedicure.

9. My favorite warm drink at Starbucks is a Sugar Free Skim Cinnamon Dolce Latte, no whip.

10. I am still in touch with my best friend from kindergarten.

I Can't Seem To Find The Quiet Inside My Mind

Up late.

I get this way every now and again...stay up late with too many thoughts in my head. Tonight the girl (our daughter) climbed in bed between us and was soon snoozing peacefully. I couldn't help but stay awake...watching her sleep...memorizing the roundness of her face and seeing reflections of her future. She's still such a little girl-not even five. Yet, her arms and legs are long and lean, and she's growing up too quickly. I can see the woman she is to become.

I often call her "sweet girl" - I have since she was a small baby. I vividly remember the earliest days...home from the hospital with a fresh c-section scar and leaky boobs, trying desperately to figure her out- what her different cries meant...how to breastfeed without hurting myself by positioning her just so that she wasn't resting on my incision, learning her personality. Weeping openly with the baby blues, walking her up and down the nursery floor as her cries reverberated off the ceiling and walls, begging her to please stop crying, baby, I'm trying so hard...please tell me what's wrong.

When I'm up this late, my demons often play mind-games with me. I start thinking about the most awful things...what would happen if she had some horrific terminal childhood illness? What would happen if my husband died in a car wreck on the way home from work, or had a heart attack in his sleep? How would my life be different?

Perhaps the violent change in life that death brings upon us is the basis for grief. Every time one of these thoughts pops up in my head, I'm thrown into pictures of the aftermath...I don't know if I would be paralyzed, or if I would throw myself headlong into school or work or whatever I could.

Or would I say a simple prayer of forgiveness, let out a primal scream, and be done with the outward grief? And what would people say about that? What if my husband died? How long does a 30 year old woman wear her widow's weeds? God help me, I think about how long I would have to wait to try to see other men, and what do I then call my mother in law??...but the thought of the comparison, the game I never had to play (thank you, Lord, for sending me my husband early in life, I saved a ton of money on booze and cover charges), or even worse- going to bed with another man, or marrying another man, or how long the comparison would last...would I judge on the merits or simply attempt to replace?

Then I roll over and his hand is on my arm, and I realize that there's nothing to worry about right now- he's still here and safe, and we're alright at least 'til tomorrow. Still doesn't help my sleep, at least tonight.

Death wrecks people - my mother has never gotten over my grandmother's death, and it's been 15 years.

An old friend from grammar school recently lost her husband to leukemia- we are roughly the same age and they were married but a few short years. No kids. He was a doctor. It seems like heartache befalls the best people in the world.

Horrible thoughts that make me cry into my pillow at night for no good reason. I can never tell when this is going to happen, and I don't know that it ever makes sense.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Once again, Mr. Mayer zigs when I think he's going to zag. Check it out:

(photo ruthlessly ganked from Perez.)

Apparently, the thing to do amongst celebrities nowadays is to have a huge, red-carpet, corporate-sponsored Event Birthday Party. However, I think JM did this one his own way- and here's my reasoning:

1. If you search for photos of this party, there are about six "red carpet" photos out there right now, and two of them are of Conan O'Brien. There aren't any other celebrities who appeared to do the red carpet thing, besides JM, his dad, and Conan. Very unusual for a "celebrity party" - there's usually a spate of who's who, along with red carpet interview clips and whatnot. Nothing of the sort here, and that's really quite refreshing.

2. Yes, he's got the whole "sponsored by Blackberry" thing happening...but he also shared this huge thing with his dad, who turned 80 years old two days before JM turned 30.

3. Rather than doing the stuntastic thing at Stereo or Butter, the event was held at the Rainbow Room- the epitome of four-star class and timeless elegance. Totally old-school New York style. Black tie. Big band orchestra. Freakin' Tony Bennett serenaded Mr. Mayer. E! had about 15 seconds of footage on the "Sightings" part of E! news tonight, and the best shot was of John and Mr. Mayer blowing out the candles on their cake, with John's two brothers standing behind them, applauding.

4. Look closely at that backdrop: all it has is an "80/30" logo (emblematic of their respective ages) and the "Blackberry" logo. No "JM," no pictures, no nothing- you'd probably assume it was just another corporate event if you didn't know better.

5. The Rainbow Room is on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and hence pretty easy to secure. I'm sure it was chosen not only for its elegance and sophistication, but also for its privacy. JM is a very private person when it comes to his family, and this event is as public as I've ever seen him with them.

He didn't have to do all that for his dad, but the point is that even though, on first blush, he's got the whole Hollywood thing happening, my perception is that he used his star power to do something incredibly memorable and beautiful for his family and his dad.

As if I needed one more reason to adore this man...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, John Mayer!

Welcome to the other side of 30. It's good to have you here.

Updated to add: Looks like my boy went out with his boyz last night and brought in his thirties in style.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Let A Man Be Lost

JM published a blog today.

His tone is somewhat quiet...less ebullient and self-effacing than usual. Even read on a fanblog that someone thinks the blog entry was written by a publicist because the tone was so unlike what we're used to. Perez published a picture of a secret gig John played last night at Mercury Lounge, and much was made of the fact that he's wearing actual nice pants...like, flat front trousers. Not a stitch of denim or a cargo pocket in sight. No wrinkles. Simple black sweater. Acoustic guitar. Barstool and a microphone. Still tattoo'd and rumply hair (still John) but somehow more serious.

To that, I respond:

He's turning 30 in two days. Wouldn't you be a little sober regarding that fact? I know I was. (Lo, these many months ago...confession: I am exactly 5 months and 2 days older than JM. Class of 1995, woo!)

He just worked his ass off, to-wit: putting out a double-Grammy-winning, platinum-selling album a short 13 months ago, touring throughout the winter, touring cross-country all summer, dealing with press constantly in his face, and not always about the music. Then he came off the road and continued to gig for the last couple months or so, playing the intimate, club-like settings of the Royal Fucking Albert Hall, Live Earth and Hokie Stadium. Along the way, he rocked well over half a million of us to our very cores, creaming jeans, shredding guitars and breaking (and winning) hearts along the way. Oh yes, and winning TEC awards for the whole shebang.

I can't blame him for taking the last few weeks to recharge, play around in Cabo, LA and NYC, eat some serious Texas BBQ and see a pretty girl or two. He hasn't been home in awhile.

So he sounds serious? He's back in the office. Work mode. For poets and songwriters, work is late night gigs, studio time, and turning one's soul inside out, providing the less artistic population with words and sounds by which to laugh, cry, think and relate. No doubt about it, there's a JM song for every hour of my day, every day of my week. Doesn't happen without a little effort.

Now that I've jumped over the fence and have my 20's securely in my rearview mirror, I can relate to where JM is in life- perhaps that's why I dig him and his music so very much. Yes, as a 20-something, you are an adult, vested with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. However, the years between 24 and 30 are the last vestiges of chronological youth, and represent a serious maturation curve.

There's a mindfulness and sensibility that comes with waking up one morning and knowing you just can't pretend to be young and stupid anymore. The trick is to make sure that, at heart, you are the same person you always were, and you are being true to yourself.

Most of us don't know JM personally, and quite honestly, he could be the nicest guy on the block or he could be a total asshole. I get the feeling that despite the occasional Hollywood douchebaggery, he's still a relatively normal guy from the Connecticut suburbs who geeks out on his watch collection, hangs out with his buddies and calls his folks once a week. No, he's not the man he used to be lately. Personally, I don't care. His fans have had the amazing privilege to watch his evolution, both as an artist and as a guy. I know I'm nowhere near the same person I was when I was 22. Why should I expect anyone else to remain static?

To quote the man himself, I'll take him any way I can, as long as the music is there.

Knowing John's track record in that area, this fangirl ain't goin' nowhere.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ow. Ow Ow Ow! (Lists)

In a fit of adrenaline and a desire to get my butt in gear, my sister-in-law and I walked 5.65 miles yesterday (according to Gmap Pedometer).

My hips are not happy with me right now.

I suppose I should do that more than once a week...

And I need to find out the pool hours on campus.

And call to cancel both our old gym membership at home and the DSL service that originally started off as a good idea but then turned into all sorts of wrong.

And I need to call Dish Network and get them to mount our dish on a pole instead of sitting in the driveway as we originally were told was acceptable.

And I need to get our parking permits from the housing office.

Fall break is next weekend! Whee!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Stop This Train

Today is my mother in law's 63rd birthday.

I remember when my grandmother was 63.

She died when I was 16. She was 66.

My father in law is 62.

My father is 61.

My mother is 56.

I'm not ready for this.

I'm just...not.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Suppose I Said You're My Saving Grace

Thinking about lots of things...

Joined Phi Alpha Delta this past Thursday...seems like a great opportunity, and lots of good people. Good friends joined as well. I love that I "went Greek" with my friends, as opposed to undergrad, where you "go Greek" to make friends.

SO far behind on schoolwork. Rethinking my decision to take a part time job.

Family meeting tonight. Not sure what we're going to discuss, but I am going to need to bring up the need for study time and reducing distractions.

I've been out of sorts for the past week. Not sure what's up with that. More later.

JM has a new girlfriend- much better than the last time, from what I can see. Watched Friday Night Lights last night, and I am amazed that I missed this show last season. Story lines need to be fleshed out more, but the acting is good and I really like the idea of the show. Thanks, JM, for introducing your girlfriend to me, and her show to me by proxy.

Going to do a three-day flush and then try Alli. I'm not comfortable at my current weight, I need to work on my health, and if I want any shot at a decent tri season (or a longer race next season) I've got to do it. Also have to work on my therapy again- the pain in my hip is returning, and that's never good news. More on this later.

Latest JM musing: I have been returning to Room For Squares recently- I don't know why, but I'm finding new challenges in the music. Even then, JM had a tone of secrecy- there's more to that album than just a guy with an acoustic. Even though it's got "Wonderland" on it (and honestly, I still like the song, I just can't listen to it all the time- it got very overplayed), Room For Squares still seems like it's got something to give- and I am hoping the same is true 10-15 years from now (or more). Case in point: "Not Myself." On first blush, it's a throwaway- easy little tune, nice lyrics, made a movie soundtrack. Listen to the end of the last chorus off the bridge. John sings about a saving grace...and his voice is prayer, praise and plaintive wail all at once. Perhaps my upbringing is rearing its ugly head, but when someone speaks of "grace" I wonder if they know what it really means.

Grace. Dancers are graceful. Socialites and doyennes of style are often termed "gracious." Grace is a virtue. Grace is a old-fashioned name, now returned to newfound popularity for little girls nationwide. Grace was taught in Sunday school- a gift from God, the ability to accept a gift, accept knowledge, accept what God gives you, accept others as they are. Grace gets thrown around a lot- it's more than a song or a Sunday school lesson.

John talks about being out of sorts, loving someone unconditionally, no matter their state in life, whether they are halt or hale, knowing their very core. Is unconditional love a grace? Is it a grace to give or receive or both? Would you love me when I'm not myself? Wait it out while I am someone else?

And I, in time, come around...I always do for you.
If you are a person's saving grace, does it mean you have a command of their life? Do they in turn pull you out of your deepest funk and back to an even keel? On another level...do you make an extra effort if this person attempts to grace you, in order to make it work?

The thing is- grace can't be taught. It has to be given, earned, learned. It has to be discovered. When it is discovered, it grows and you can't deny it. The trick is knowing what it is when you see it or find it within yourself. It's hard to look back on grace and say "Oh! Is THAT what that was?" It's a momentary thing- and you have a choice to accept or to turn away.

Moments of grace. I think John had one with that song- and I've been listening to it on repeat, for that three seconds of guitar chord and slightly uneven, gravelly tenor vocal.

I'm on the lookout for moments of grace in my life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Wonder of It All Is That You Just Don't Realize How Much I Love You

So I have this husband.

Who is amazing.

We met as teenagers...in high school...in yearbook class. I was a senior, he was a junior. I wore a sweater and Birkenstocks, and he had a ponytail and an impressive collection of Nirvana tee shirts. It was hardly love at first sight for me, but he said I had him at "please pass the pica ruler."

I was the first person he ever knew who wore a toe ring.

He was so, so shy.

We dated. We kissed. We went to Prom (twice.) We took the ACTs together. We fell in love, harder and deeper than I ever imagined possible. I had boyfriends before him...he had never so much as held hands with another girl.

I went to college and he stayed behind.

He never let me go.

This time of year reminds me of our first date...it was 13 years ago, and we went to the Homecoming dance together. It was cold, but he gave me his coat, as every high school gentleman does, when he means it.

He came to my sorority formal my senior year of college, armed with a diamond ring.

I said yes.

We were married on a windy spring day just after my 22nd birthday. Our yearbook teacher danced at our wedding. We bought a little white house with our wedding money, and got down to the business of marriage.

Parenthood followed three years later.

Now, we've sold our little white house and moved hours and hours away from our beginning, and he's still holding my hand and loving me as much as he ever did. It's the next chapter in our lives, this law school business of mine, one I was never sure would ever happen, and one he never doubted.

I am blessed.